Monday, November 21, 2011

Not Just a Scrap of Grace

If I were to write a book about our experiences in this country (not likely to happen!), I would have a difficult time picking a title.

Several good titles present themselves every week.

Such as "There is a Gecko in My Bible" or "Fish at the Gate" or "Just Another Dusty Road" or "OhnMineGoodness".

But today, the title would be "Not Just a Scrap of Grace". The idea comes from the story in Matthew where the Gentile woman begged Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus said he came first for the Jews, and she replied that even the dogs get the scraps of food from the table. Our Bible study referred to "scraps of grace", and it occurred to me that I have been given not just scraps of grace; I feast at the table! My plate is heaped full of wonderful gifts from God. He is truly a God of Grace.

Here is a list of things I am very thankful for:

---a nice bed in a safe, rodent-free house
---eyesight to experience sunrises and sunsets and awesome cloud formations
---the ability to read
---little George's smile and Romeo's "thumbs up" he gives me every morning
---family and friends who encourage us
---Internet service (how did missionaries survive before the computer age? I do not know!)
---100% cotton blouses
---pictures of Luke (grandson)
---the ability to reason and think critically
---parents and teachers who did their job (for critical thinking and reasoning skills!)
---a nice clean shower with running water
---my Bible
---a sturdy four wheel drive vehicle
---a clever husband to fix sturdy four wheel drive vehicle
---Champ's hugs and Nehemiah's waves
---no current snake sightings
---ears to hear Martha's laughter across the play ground
---nail polish (hey, no ever accused me of being deep! I am pretty shallow. And proud of it!)
---insect repellent
---paved roads
---a good haircut (yes...shallow, remember?)
---employees who care to do their best work
---children who are happy and healthy
---eternal security through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, my Savior

See? Not just a scrap of grace, but baskets of blessings. What a gracious God we have!
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We Hate Meeces to Pieces!

We arrived up in Nimba County at the small village of Mia Deah Play in the early afternoon. We handed our frozen chicken and small bag of rice to a local lady, and as we went off to assess children in the area, she went to work on supper. After visiting several children and their care givers, we walked back to the office where we would spend the night. The woman had supper ready, and it was delicious. The four pound chicken, served with rice, fed eighteen people.

Babs was tired. It was only 8:00pm, but it had been a long day, and she headed to bed. We use the term "bed" loosely, as it was a two inch foam mat on the floor. A mosquito net was hanging over the mat. We were thankful for the net, as the one little window had a screen that had seen better days! Obviously, it would not provide much protection from mosquitoes. When Dave came to bed at 10:00pm, our hosts turned off the generator, and the office building, which would sleep seven people in various rooms this night, became very dark and very quiet.

The scritching sound started about five minutes after all the lights went out. And it was loud. The rodent could not be in the walls, as the walls were made of adobe brick. It had to be at our door. We shined the flashlight at the door, and to our dismay, realized that a large mouse (think Mickey) was trying to get out of our room! Dave got up and opened the door a few inches, crawled back to our mat and turned off the flashlight. After a minute or two, Dave got up and closed the door. Mickey was out in the hall. Good enough!

Except, after a few minutes, the scritching re-started! Flashlight on again, pointed it at the door, and there was Minnie trying to get out! Oh, for heavens sake! Dave repeated the open door/close door scenario. Quiet again...for about two minutes. More scritching. Yes, now Mighty Mouse wanted out of the room. Once again, Dave opened and then closed our door. It was quiet for several minutes, and we were now pretty sure that the mouse family was happily roaming the office building, out of our hair!

After an hour's worth of sleep, the scritching noise was back. There were no mice on our side of the door, though. Apparently, the mouse family decided they LIKED it in our room and wanted back in! Not gonna' happen! But it was impossible to sleep with that dreadful scritchy-scratchy sound at the door. It was like a sound track from a bad Stephen King movie! We discovered that if we pointed the flashlight at the bottom of the door, the scritching stopped. And so that is how we finally slept most of the night, with the flashlight on, shining at the teeny crack at the threshold of the door. It was a long night.

The next morning, as we were packing up to leave our deluxe accommodations, we realized that several bags of rice were being stored in a corner of our room. Well, this explains why the mouse entourage wanted to get back in our room. They probably were coming with all their friends to party on! Next visit, we must demand a nicer maybe the copier room.
We are not cat people, but having a nice Tabby along when we visit Mia Deah Play again might be a good idea.

Wishing you a rodent free day.
Dave and Babs

P.S. Since originally writing this blog post, things have come up and we need to return to Nimba County this week. Without a kitty cat. (sigh).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Round Two

The Liberian presidential election was held Tuesday, October 11. Because of Liberia's past history of unrest and violence, the U.N maintained a formidable presence throughout Monrovia. The memory of Ivory Coast's ugly election situation just one year ago also had the U.N. very vigilant. Armored personnel carriers were positioned at the president's residence and near the U.N. building and at other key locations. Foreign embassies beefed up their security. Police manned major intersections and cops in full riot gear were present at all rallies and marches.

But all in all, it was rather peaceful. A party headquarters was burned to the ground and a radio station had a home made bomb tossed through a window. The chairman of one political party had his car burned one night. But, really, all in all, the marches and rallies and parades were without the mayhem and violence that had been feared.
It took a full week before the official results were announced, and no candidate received a majority of the vote. This was not totally unexpected. There were sixteen people running for president! Kind of hard to get fifty-one percent of the vote with the votes being split between so many candidates!

A run-off vote is scheduled for November 8 between the two top vote-getting candidates: President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and challenger Winston Tubman. The run-off is being called "Round Two". The U.N. personnel are still at their stations, and the police are still out in full force. Here we go again!